Declan would say that he doesn’t know where his alcoholism came from, none of his parents, siblings or wife have this disease, in fact, none of them have ever taken a drink in their lives. He doesn’t know where it came from or what caused it, but he certainly knows the effects it has had on both himself and his family. Today he accepts he is an alcoholic and with this acceptance has learnt to live a manageable, contented and sober life. This is his story.
At the age of 27 in 1996, Declan got married to Brenda, he was so happy, full of hopes and dreams for their future. In 1997 his mother-in-law died, and he recalls this as a very difficult time for him.
Declan believes that he got away with so called ‘normal drinking’ for a period of years. He can’t pinpoint when his drinking became a problem, and out of control, because of the progressive nature of the disease, but recognises his drinking was certainly heavier around the time of his mother-in-law dying.
He points out that this is not the reason he is an alcoholic but now identifies he drank his way through the bereavement and the loneliness. He has also recognised that at times in his life were there has been a lot of loss and pain he has sought solace in the bottle.
On exploring this with Declan, he was able to relate to holidays where he has never been satisfied with one drink; he has always had to have another and another drink. He would say his wife used to pick up on this, and even had to ask him to take his time, because she said he was gulping the drinks into him.
Declan tells me that during his drinking he thought that he would be able to stop if he had a family, he would be the perfect husband and father to his children. Sadly this was not to be imminent for Declan, becoming a father.
Declan and Brenda lost a baby in 2001, in the early stages of pregnancy and this was to have a devastating effect on them both. Declan noticed that his drinking had escalated at this time, trying to suppress his emotions and cope with life.
In July 2002 his daughter was born. Declan believed that this would be a turning point, in his words “the icing on the cake”. He would stop drinking.
Sadly this was not to be the case.
To be continued.
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